Today (May 10) marks the fifth anniversary of Brink; an often overlooked shooter for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
Developed by Splash Damage (who’d worked on the multiplayer for a number of publisher Bethesda‘s previous products, and are now tasked with Gears of War 4‘s online modes), its single player campaign was largely forgettable, but it was in the multiplayer setting where Brink really shone.
Mixing free-running parkour with shooting, an RPG-like skills system and the best class based match-ups this side of Team Fortress 2, Brink brimmed with originality in a market full of grey and brown military shooters.
Five years on, you can pick up the game for literally a quid. So here are five reasons to get back to the forgotten parkour shooter:
It’s better than you remember
The first few week’s of Brink‘s release killed any chances it had of truly becoming a success.
Nowadays, it has become commonplace for games to release slightly buggy, only to be patched shortly after and the issues cleared up. So commonplace in fact, that reviewers and the gaming public often give games a kind of unwritten grace period; a patch is expected, so we’ll just forgive a game its faults for now until its really ready to be played.
Back in 2011, this was a fairly new phenomenon, and admittedly Brink did launch with a fair few problems: horrible texture pop in, agonising load times, and unacceptable lag in multiplayer matches.
This led to poor word-of-mouth, and even poorer review scores, hurting the game’s chances no end. Splash Damaged fixed it all, but not before it was too late.
So, take a trip back. It’s better than you remember!
Its art style will impress you
When you think of a post-apocalyptic game world, your mind instantly saps any colour you had lingering around your imagination, and instead replaces it with all manner of greys and beiges.
Thankfully, Brink doesn’t fall in to the same trap, instead contrasting crisp white buildings against dark corridors, with splashes of vibrant oranges and reds.
The character design sticks out too; it’s cartoony without being ridiculous, and at the same time manages to stay away from the triangle shaped men of the Gears of War franchise.
Games since have done it worse
Great shooting, interesting objectives, free running and RPG style skill trees; all things that modern gamers would go absolutely loopy for if they were all bundled in to one package in this day and age.
In fact, they did with Titanfall back in 2014, which – while perhaps slightly different – did basically the same things in an online only shooter. And did them much worse.
Sure, the mechanics were tight (what do you expect from a team of ex-Call of Duty devs?), but the game felt ultimately shallow, and gave us the same cut and dry near-future shooter we’ve had for years. One day Titanfall will be a great franchise, but those first-game wobbles showed.
Not Brink though, which delivered more or less the same gameplay points in a much more interesting manner, three years earlier. The progression system was more in depth, the objectives a bit deeper, and the gameplay just as refined.
You don’t have to grind it out for the best stuff
We’ve all been there: you hop into a multiplayer session of a game that’s already been out a few weeks (or just days in a lot of cases), and you’re immediately wiped out by a maxed out player with infinitely better equipment than you. It’s going to take some serious grinding if you want to get anywhere near to that perk.
Not with Brink, which attempted to level the playing field by making its bonuses and unlockables fairly easy to acquire.
Completing the game’s challenge section before heading online killed two birds with one stone. 1) It taught you how to play the game, which admittedly could be tricky to wrap you head around for a newcomer; and 2) It allowed you to unlock everything you could possibly need.
It doesn’t matter that its servers are a ghost town
Quite predictably, a five-year old game that died a bit of a sad death at launch – no matter how unfairly – isn’t going to have the most populous servers in the world.
You could try the solo campaign, but for all we’ve spoken of of the game’s online component, the single player section is weirdly optional.
But what to do if nobody’s online? Well, never fear, because Brink allows you to set up your own matches with AI bots, which most of the time prove just as worthy adversaries as their human counterparts. You can even work together with a friend if you set-up a game together (or face off on opposing sides of course!).
Besides, Brink could do with a bit of a resurgence.
The real way to reboot the game would be to get an online community thriving again. Brink 2 in a couple of years time? We’ll dare to dream…